SRU softball split their doubleheader with Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) West rival Seton Hill at home on Sunday, losing the first game 7-0, then winning the second game 5-0, while junior center-fielder Emily Nagle broke The Rock’s all-time hit record, previously held by SRU softball head coach Stacey Rice.
Nagle earned PSAC West Athlete of the Week for her performance on the day and throughout the week. The Rock lost both games in their previous doubleheader with the Griffins 3-2 and 1-4, when the team traveled there earlier in April.
Senior Carly Derose started the first game on the mound for the Green and White, but was chased out early in the first inning when she gave up four runs (three earned) off two hits, and was replaced by junior Paige Flore. The Rock gave up four runs in the first inning, with two runs coming off a back-breaking home run, followed by a solo home run in the third inning to give the Griffins a 5-0 lead.
“It’s always hard when you play from behind,” Rice said. “The first inning we had a lot of errors, and our pitching had a bit of a challenge.”
After a pass ball got past the catcher and three walks, while giving up three runs on three hits through two innings, Flore then exited the game in the fourth, while sophomore Andria Copelli entered to finish the game off. Copelli gave up no runs off zero hits through the final three innings of the game, as The Rock went on to lose the first game 7-0. Derose got credit for the loss which takes her record to 6-8 on the season, as Nagle went three for three in the game as she broke coach Rice’s all-time hit record in the process.
“We were not hitting the middle of the ball and staying on top,” Rice said. “We just were not able to make the adjustments necessary.”
Junior pitcher Brooke Dawson started the second game for The Rock in her 18th start of the season as she pitched another complete game, giving up zero runs on five hits, but failed to record a strike out. The defensive play behind her kept the Griffins off the scoreboard. The Green and White had the chance to get on the board early with the bases loaded and one out in the first inning, but failed to get a run in.
In the second inning, the bats did come alive when freshman infielder Alexa Guglielmino kicked off the scoring with an RBI double to center to take a 1-0 lead. Sophomore second baseman Megan Brown followed suit with an RBI single to score Guglielmino, followed by senior third baseman Cait Baxter hit a sacrifice fly-out to right to score another run. Junior catcher Lauren Hawley then got an RBI single to force a pitching change for Seton Hill and to take a 4-0 lead through two innings.
In the third, Dawson was able to get herself out of a mess with the bases loaded with two outs but was able to force a ground hit to end the inning. The Rock then added to their lead in the fifth inning off an RBI ground-out by Guglielmino to take a 5-0 lead. SRU went one, two, three in the seventh inning to secure the shutout and win 5-0. Dawson improved her record to 11-7 on the season, while Nagle went two-for-four in the game to improve her season batting average to .463 with 63 hits.
“We struggled holistically as a team in the first game,” Rice said. “But they bounced back and that is what’s important.”
The Rock currently sits with a 17-20 record, which puts them in fourth place in the PSAC West, right behind Seton Hill. Their next match-up will come on Friday when the team plays host to PSAC West Edinboro University (13-16) in a doubleheader, with the first game starting at 2:30 p.m. and the second game at 4:30 p.m.